'What a moron': Fauci argues with GOP senator over financial disclosures

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Anthony Fauci on Tuesday called Sen. Roger Marshall a “moron” at the end of a contentious question-and-answer exchange focused on whether the financial disclosure information of the White House’s top public medical adviser is available to the public.

Marshall (R-Kan.) began his interrogation into Fauci’s finances by noting the doctor’s salary, $434,000, and the multibillion-dollar budget for federal research grants that he oversees as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

“As the highest-paid employee in the entire federal government, would you be willing to submit to Congress and the public a financial disclosure that includes your past and current investments?” Marshall asked. “After all, your colleague [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle] Walensky and every member of Congress submits a financial disclosure that includes their investments.”

Fauci countered Marshall’s claim, stating that his investments and financial information were already “public knowledge” and had been for more than 30 years.

“All you have to do is ask for it,” Fauci said. “You’re so misinformed, it’s extraordinary.”

Marshall argued that because of Fauci’s job, he sees information before members of Congress and therefore possesses insider knowledge.

“There’s an air of appearance that maybe some shenanigans are going on,” he said, though the senator added that he believes that “is not the case.”

Fauci said the information on his financial disclosure “is totally accessible to you if you want it,” both to Marshall’s office and to the public.

A spokesperson for NIAID confirmed Wednesday morning that Fauci's public financial disclosures are available to the public via the Ethics in Government Act and can be requested by submitting an Office of Government Ethics Form 201 request. Fauci and other directors of NIH institutes and centers file their reports publicly due to the nature of their positions and as determined by the OGE, the spokesperson said.

“We look forward to reviewing it,” Marshall said in response as Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), the chairwoman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, cut off the exchange.

“What a moron,” Fauci could be heard saying quietly as Tuesday’s hearing moved on. “Jesus Christ.”

Marshall later responded in a statement: “Calling me a moron during a Senate hearing may have alleviated the stress of the least trusted bureaucrat in America, but it didn’t take away from the facts.”

A spokesperson for the Department of Health and Human Services, Ian Sams, denounced Marshall’s comments about Fauci in a statement on Tuesday evening.

“At a time when America is seeing rising COVID cases,” he said, “it’s disappointing and frankly unacceptable that Republican Senators chose to spend a hearing with the country’s leading public health experts spreading conspiracy theories and lies about Dr. Fauci, rather than how we protect people from COVID-19.”

Sams said in the statement that the Biden administration would continue to focus on getting more people vaccinated and boosted, and encouraged Republicans to join the administration in that effort.

Capitol Hill testimony has long been a venue where Fauci has sparred with Republican lawmakers. Earlier Tuesday, he engaged in a heated exchange with Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) — Fauci’s loudest GOP critic on Capitol Hill — arguing that the senator’s critical rhetoric “kindles the crazies” who threaten him and his family. Fauci also accused Paul of using the pandemic for political gain.

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